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“…Winter is coming…” (or already here…)

It’s getting well into winter time now and as we rug up in our extra blankets at night, we might also be suffering from cold and flu.

During winter, many patients come to see me complaining of toothache, usually following a recent bout of cold and flu. This sudden spike of “toothache” can often be caused by a sinus infection.

A common symptom of a sinus infection is that patient’s feel a toothache in the upper region of their mouth when they walk or move around (especially during exercise).

They may have also had a history of a recent cold or flu. Often a dental X-ray will also show the sinus as ‘cloudy’, but the tooth remain perfectly healthy.

sinuses on dental xray
Sinuses on dental x-ray

Our sinuses are basically a network of hollow chambers in our skull that let air through, before it gets to our lungs, so it can be warmed and humidified.

Usually, our body has a mechanism that keeps our sinuses clean, but in some instances, bacteria can infect the area causing toothache-like symptoms.

This is because our upper teeth are linked very closely with the maxillary sinus. Often, the roots of the upper molars line the floor of sinus. When the sinuses become ‘full’, it can sometimes irritate the tooth root.

Sinus infections may be treated by a variety of different ways including humidifiers, nasal sprays, antibiotics, or decongestants. However, toothaches could point to something serious so it is best to make sure nothing serious is present by consulting with a dentist first.

If in doubt seek dental advice to determine what is causing your discomfort.